6 Little-known Facts about the Jeep CJ-7
- The CJ-7 as well as the rest of the CJ series of Jeeps can trace their roots back to the famous Willys Jeep used by the Allies in World War II. In fact, the CJ series was intended to be the public version of the military Jeep - the initials
CJ stand for Civilian Jeep.
- The introduction of the CJ-7 in 1976 coincided with the 200th anniversary of American Independence as well as the 35th birthday of the Jeep.
- The Jeep CJ-7 is basically a longer version of the 1954 CJ-5, which in turn is a version of the Korean War-era M38 Jeep. The CJ-7 featured a longer wheelbase with 10 inches added behind the front seats to provide space for the automatic transmission system. Flatter doors, a stepped-out chassis and road springs and dampers mounted closely to the outside of the body also differentiated the CJ-7 from the CJ-5. In turn, the CJ-7 itself was later used as basis for the CJ-8
Scrambler, a 2-door pickup truck produced between 1981 and 1984, and the Jeep Wrangler SUV.
- In the classic Dukes of Hazzard TV series, the character Daisy Duke drove a white 1980 CJ-7 named
Dixie. The Jeep was introduced on the mid-second season of the series and was characterized by its trademark Golden Eagle emblem and the name
Dixie affixed on the sides of the hood. The CJ-7 was later replaced by the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard film.
- There have been diesel-powered versions produced for the CJ-7, but these were not made available in the US and were meant for export. The diesel CJ-7s were manufactured in Ohio in between 1980 and 1982 and were fitted with an Isuzu Diesel C240 engine, a Trenec 4-speed manual transmission, and 4.1 ratio narrow track axles.
- The main feature of the CJ-7 that distinguished it from previous CJ-series Jeeps is its Quadra-Trac four-wheel chain drive transmission system. The QuadraTrac system had a differential that shifted torque between the front and rear that can be locked in a vacuum, enabling the CJ-7 to operate in high range and optimum traction in virtually any driving situation without requiring any input from the driver.
3 Common Jeep CJ-7 Problems
One of the more popular generations of the Jeep CJ series, the Jeep CJ-7 provides the same ruggedness and reliability of its legendary ancestor, the famed Willys Jeep of World War II. However, the CJ-7, as tough as it may seem, also has some flaws. Some of the common hiccups in CJ-7s include:
A usual problem of the CJ-7 and other Jeep CJ vehicles is that their design makes them highly vulnerable to rust. Lapping over one another, the steel panels of the CJ-7 are welded on one edge, leaving the other edge open and without paint in between to protect it from the elements. Eventually, moisture builds up between the two panels, leading to rust and deterioration of the affected piece.
A common telltale sign of a rusted CJ-7 panel is swelling on one or both pieces that overlap, as the rust is bigger than the steel it originated from. Normally, minor rusting can be remedied by sanding, grinding, and painting over the affected area, but a badly rusted piece is hardly worth the effort to fix because any attempt to repair the damage is only temporary.
CJ-7 Jeeps tend to jump out of gear, which is usually attributed to excessive end play in the main shaft gears and worn-out engagement dogs, shift forks, and detents. A common solution to this is to replace the gears and other worn components. There may also be cases when rebuilding the transmission will be necessary in order to fix the problem.
Some CJ-7 owners have also reported problems regarding the Jeep's steering and handling. These problems include pulling due to uneven tire pressures or improper front-end alignment; vibration due to loose lug nuts and steering gear and worn or damaged idler arms and ball joints; and stiffness due to lack of lubrication in the ball joints and steering linkages, as well as low power steering fluid levels. There have also been cases of loose play and the failure of the steering wheel to return to center, which are often due to worn wheel bearings, steering linkage, or bushings and a misaligned steering column or steering gears, respectively.
I have always had a soft top in my Jeep CJ7 (I don't drive it on winter), but I'm thinking of switching to a hard top now that my soft top looks like it already needs to be replaced—I figure a hard top would last longer compared to the soft variety. However, my concern is the versatility of the top. A hard top looks difficult to take on and off. What would you recommend?
The truth is, both the soft top and the hard top have their own advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to durability, a hard top will almost always win. The good thing about having this kind of top is that you can now drive your Jeep vehicle during winter without worry. A hard top will also give your Jeep a more polished look, as well as offer more protection to your vehicle. However, we'd have to agree that the soft top wins when it comes to versatility—you can take it on and off anytime you want or need to. For a hard top, it takes at least two people to take off. It's also less handy, unlike a soft top that you can take off and store at the back of your ride. You might want to buy an extra soft top in addition to your hard top just so you have options depending on your driving need.
A friend is trying to sell me his Jeep CJ7, and I'm near buying it. However, I read that this type of vehicle is prone to steering problems because their steering box mounts are prone to cracking. Is there any long-term solution to this problem? I don't want to shell out money every now and then just to replace damaged mounts.
As you will know, the steering box mount is designed to hold the steering box and keep it properly in place while you steer and drive your vehicle. The problem with this mount is that it can develop crack over time. And when the problem is not addressed right away, the mount may snap and you'll be faced with a steering problem. What you need to know, however, is that there are already heavy-duty steering box mounts being offered in the market. These are designed to handle a lot more stress without breaking. But, you also need to pay attention to the way you drive—you need to ensure that you don't abuse your ride so that its parts won't fail prematurely.
My Jeep CJ7 seat covers are already beat up, and I'm planning to replace them. This is the first time I'll be doing this, and I'm seeing a lot of materials out there. Which of them is the best?
It depends on what you're looking for. Fabric is very easy to clean and maintain. It breathes better, so you won't be too warm in the summer. Meanwhile, vinyl is extremely durable and resistant to weather—it won't easily fade even if exposed to the sun. However, it doesn't breathe well compared to fabric. Another option is leather, which is a good choice if you don't mind spending more and you are looking for a luxurious look and waterproof capabilities. Decide according to your driving activities and preference.
Jeep CJ-7: The Start of a New Jeep Generation
In the latter stages of World War II, Willys, an American automobile manufacturing company, considered designing a Jeep for the civilian market. As a result, the CJ or Civilian Jeep was born in 1942. Thirty-two years and numerous versions later, the Jeep CJ-7 was finally introduced in 1976. It was far more suitable for “civilian” use compared to the previous models. Although it lasted only for 11 years, the CJ-7 still remains an American classic that has paved the way for the popular Jeep Wrangler model.
1976 – 1979: Changing the look for the civilian market
The Jeep CJ-7 was redesigned and had a frame that was fully boxed and widened that increased the vehicle’s stability and strength. This was the distinction it had compared to its predecessors. It also had a longer wheelbase than the CJ-5 model. Other modifications on the CJ-7 were the position of the leaf springs, and the addition of anti-sway bars and a steering stabilizer.
The CJ-7 came with a standard 232ci 6-cylinder engine, but it can be upgraded to a 304ci 5.0 liter or a 258ci 4.2L inline 6-cylinder engine. The transmission system for the vehicle was a standard heavy duty Borg Warner T-150, 3-speed transmission. An optional upgrade was a Borg Warner T-18, 4-speed transmission.
1980 – 1982: Taking the vehicle from the off-road to the street
A lot of changes happened to the Jeep CJ-7 that started in 1980. The former engine was replaced by the GM 151ci 4-cylinder engine. A 5.0L V8 engine came as an optional upgrade, but it was discontinued only a year later. The Borg Warner transmission system was still used, but the Tremec T-176 and SR4 4-speed transmission systems were introduced. These systems were designed for street driving, a deviation from the off-road style of the vehicle. Also in 1980, the CJ-7’s Dana Model 20 transfer case low range of 2.03:1 was replaced by the Dana Model 300 which had a deeper low range of 2.62:1. A diesel-powered engine had been manufactured between 1980 and 1982. At that time, the vehicles produced were also for export.
1983 – 1987: Saluting the model that became a cornerstone
In its final years, only minor upgrades were done on the Jeep CJ-7. The standard front axle of the vehicle became a Dana Model 40, while for the rear, it was AMC 20. The Dana 44, a rear axle upgrade, was offered on certain models, but it became a standard part of the vehicle in 1986. The production of the Jeep CJ-7 stopped in 1987. Although the vehicle’s lifetime was just a little over a decade, the CJ-7 had popular equipment packages like the Renegade, Laredo, and Jamboree edition.